Published on Wednesday 25th September 2013

Minister Deenihan Launches – Species Action Plan for Ireland’s Red Grouse at the National Ploughing Championships in Laois.

Features of the Plan include:
· Vision for the restoration of Ireland’s Red Grouse over the forthcoming years.
· Restoration of Red Grouse habitats on Ireland’s bogs,
· Control on nest predators and a programme of monitoring,

At the National Ploughing Championships in Laois today (25th September 2013), the Minister for Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, T.D. officially launched a Species Action Plan for Ireland’s Red Grouse.
The purpose of this action plan is to provide guidance for the conservation and management of Red Grouse and their habitats in Ireland. It was developed by a consortium of game, conservation and farmer groups.
Speaking at the launch today Minister Deenihan acknowledged the key role of the Irish Grey Partridge Conservation Trust, who with the support of his own Department set up the forum that made this Action Plan possible, and all the other organisations involved.
The Minister stated “I am very pleased that my Department is associated with the plan and I wish to commend the Trust for facilitating the many meetings and bringing this plan to fruition”. I also wish to congratulate and thank each of the field sport and conservation organisations that have come together and worked long and hard to produce this red grouse species action plan”.
This Action Plan was necessitated by the decline in Red Grouse populations in Ireland, which are linked with the continued decline of its habitats and the condition and extent of our bogs. As human pressures and exploitation have increased, the effect on grouse populations and their habitats has been profoundly detrimental. Red Grouse require large areas of natural and semi-natural habitat and the destruction and fragmentation of these habitats has been identified as major threats to Red Grouse populations not just in Ireland but for all grouse species globally.
The plan sets out a vision of how the restoration of Ireland’s Red Grouse will continue over the forthcoming years. It includes the restoration of Red Grouse habitats on Ireland’s bogs, control on nest predators and a programme of monitoring, which will calibrate the response of local and regional populations to management.
The Minister finished by stating that “the production of this species action plan for red grouse is an important step in securing the conservation of the species as part of our natural and sporting heritage. Effective conservation measures need the engagement and enthusiasm of local people to make a difference in their area which is why I welcome the recognition in this plan of the efforts of so many local red grouse projects.”
Ends.

Note for Editors:
The purpose of this action plan is to provide guidance for the conservation and management of Red Grouse and their habitats in Ireland. It details relevant research on Red Grouse (past and present) and outlines their biological and habitat requirements. The plan suggests a framework for actions, and provides a range of recommendations on how to apply this.
Specifically this plan aims to:
· Increase the amount of peatland and moorland under active grouse management.
· Improve awareness of Red Grouse in Ireland and the factors affecting its numbers and range amongst regulatory authorities, landowners and the wider public.
· To stop the decline and increase the population of Red Grouse in Ireland to a minimum of 2,500 breeding pairs by 2018, through the maintenance and enhancement of existing suitable habitats.
· Strive to maintain and potentially expand the current range of Red Grouse as detailed in the most recent Red Grouse Surveys in Ireland.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), part of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, provides the legislative and policy framework for the conservation of nature and biodiversity in the Republic of Ireland. It also oversees its implementation, based on good science, with particular emphasis on the protection of habitats and species.
The Irish Grey Partridge Conservation Trust
The Irish Grey Partridge Conservation Trust was established to promote the conservation of Ireland’s native game birds so that they remain an intrinsic part of Ireland’s Natural & Sporting heritage. Ireland’s two native game birds, grey partridge and red grouse are now classified as red listed birds of conservation concern. One of the Trust’s objectives is reverse the decline of our native game birds applying a mixture of science and action.

http://www.greypartridge.ie/

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